Richards Bay “’ plenty
of coal for export
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 April 2011 – Export-coal prices at South Africa’s Richards Bay terminal “’ the continent’s biggest export facility for the fuel “’ have risen the most in more than two months on speculation that Japanese power generators were buying the fuel.

Prices climbed 3.3% to US$124.74/t on average last week, according to England-based researcher IHS McCloskey. The gain was the biggest since the week ended 4 February.

Japan faces the prospect of electricity shortages after last month’s earthquake and tsunami cut national power-generating capacity by 8%. The disaster also crippled the Fukushima Dai- Ichi nuclear plant, and Japan will have to compensate for lost nuclear power with other sources such as natural gas and coal.

“Domestic utilities are anxious to secure volumes to ensure supply as power consumption resumes within the country, given that nuclear power is likely to remain constrained,” Deutsche Bank AG’s London-based analyst Daniel Brebner wrote in a report last week.

Japanese coal imports in February were 8.9% lower than in December, according to figures from the country’s finance ministry.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal exported about 5% less coal in March than a year earlier as derailments hindered shipments to the port. Shipments fell to 5.36Mt from 5.66Mt in March 2010, the terminal reports.

India is taking 70% of coal shipped from Richards Bay, Societe Generale SA analyst Emmanuel Fages said in Paris. The terminal can export 91Mtpa.